Today I had a couple of quick errands to run so I went by the mall to visit Dillard’s first. The Elizabeth Arden counter was holding my pre-ordered lip balms along with my free gift for me to pick up. (When you spend enough money at the make-up counter the clerks will start calling you to see if you need anything when they offer free gifts for purchasing a certain amount of their products – Clinique also calls and I ‘betcha I start hearing from Lancôme too! Magic creams to prevent wrinkles and whatnot...) Anyway, I digress. I rushed into Dillard’s thinking I’d get this done quick before something caught my eye and sidetracked me. I am an admitted ADHD shopper. I get off track easy. When Tara shops with me it’s double trouble and we find ourselves constantly reminding each other to “Get back on track for what we came for!” My writing seems to be ADHD today as well, so good luck keeping up with this. It’s a funny story though, so if you stick with it you might get a good laugh.
I got sidetracked before I even got close to the makeup counter. A new shipment of yellow box flip-flops on display pulled me towards them. I buy at least one new pair of these a year because I wear them so often they get worn out. I wear the flat ones and find them more comfortable than tennis shoes. (The other 2 months in the year I wear boots.) Naturally, I did find a new pair that I couldn’t resist. The ones at Dillard’s don’t actually come in a ‘yellow box’ though, they are connected to hangers like the cheaper flip-flops. I still hadn’t visited the makeup counter so I let the flip-flops hang from my pinky finger and walked straight towards my planned destination. Although my eyes were distracted along the way by lots of pretty dresses.
I ran into my friend and fellow book lover Ms. Beulah who works there and we visited for a bit. When she handed me my bag of stuff and I didn’t realize that I had already paid for it over the phone so there was no need to check out. Convenient. This also meant I could walk back through the store and see if there were any dresses I wanted to buy (along with my flip-flops still dangling from my pinky finger on the same hand that I now carried the Dillard’s bag stapled shut with my Arden products inside.) I said my good byes to Beulah and flittered through the store eyeballing a few dresses. None were casual enough (or cheap enough) for me to want to bother messing with them though. My mind began to think of the other things I needed to do so I headed to the path way out of the store.
I walked out with my head held high, full of busy thoughts. A big truck stopped to let me walk in front of it, so I waved while thinking, ‘that was nice of the driver.’ I had parked fairly close and just when I opened my car door I looked down and discovered the flip-flops still dangling from my pinky finger! I was so shocked and horrified I actually spoke out loud to myself, “I just walked right outside the door with these and didn’t even pay for them!” Nobody was around to hear (I don’t think.) And evidently nobody noticed me leave the store with them. But still. I locked my car and walked back inside to the nearest clerk to tell her what I had done. My conscience would not allow me to drive off with stolen yellow box shoes. Even though I did it on accident and I know those stores figure in a certain amount for thievery (and much of their stuff is overpriced anyway.) But I couldn’t do it. The clerk was very nice and thanked me for being honest.
I was reminded of the time when I was about 3 years old (maybe 4, who knows?) and I went to the local drug store with my Mom. I remember getting impatient waiting while my Mom shopped because she wouldn’t let me get anything. I remember being creeped out by some old biker looking dude who rubbed my head and smiled at me while asking, “Do people call you Rusty?” I must have looked confused because he elaborated, “Because of your red hair! It’s the color of rust!” He walked off chuckling and I decided to busy myself by sniffing the different flavors of Chapstick on the nearby shelf. There was a new cherry flavored one I had not seen before and as I smelled it I couldn’t resist taking a bite out of it to see if it tasted as good as the smell. I about gagged on the wax, it was awful and then I realized that I couldn’t put it back with a chunk taken off and my mom had already told me I was not allowed to get anything. So I stuck it in my coat pocket.
When we got out to the car I pulled it out to look at it and sniff again, wondering what trickster made such a tantalizing smell taste so horrid. My mom watched me do this, astounded, and screamed my name in frustration. “Did you just steal that from the store?”
I said something like, “Well, if putting it in my pocket and not paying for it is stealing, then yeah.” I knew she was angry by the tone of her voice so I started to feel bad knowing I had done something wrong. She confirmed this with a few choice words and then she marched me back inside and made me apologize to the clerk at the counter and explain what I had done. I was embarrassed and know my face probably turned redder than my hair. I felt the eyes of other shoppers watching me in judgment. I had been looking down in humiliation but looked up at the clerk with sincerity and said I was sorry again. By that time I could no longer hold back my tears of shame and I could feel their warm saltiness fall down my freckled cheeks. The clerk must’ve felt sorry for me because he said not to worry about it and didn’t make my Mom pay for it. But I did have just a little change in my pocket of my own and Mom made me give him that to learn my lesson. It really stuck in my head.
I’ve never understood those people who shoplift for the thrill of it. I certainly don’t find it thrilling!
Lesson learned Mom, lesson learned.